When Gen X and older millennials first laid eyes on Jared Leto back in 1994 as Jordan Catalano in My So-Called Life, most of us thought, “This is a face I will probably see again, yes. This face is going places.” We were all totally right, of course, and Leto absolutely did go places, but those blue eyes that once made people believe in a Good God ended up leaving folks feeling annoyed, unwell and — especially those who’ve had unfortunate brushes with the guy — downright sick to their stomachs.

ABC Distribution Company

Who’d have thought?

So…what the hell happened?  Where did everything go so wrong and why is there an argument to be made that, when it really comes down to it, Jared Leto is so obviously the Wario to Tom Cruise’s Mario?

Yes, even though these two big Hollywood stars are almost a decade apart in age and have never done a movie together, comparing their similarities (like, two) and their differences (like, so many) has truly enlightened us, and now we are sharing our groundbreaking findings with you. Perhaps we might all better understand the rich and famous actor who seems to have highly questionable methods when it comes to hooking up with women.

Perhaps we might better understand Tom Cruise, too.

Jared Leto And Tom Cruise Choose Vastly Different Movies (For Vastly Different Reasons)

Cruise does big budget films; Leto is more into indies and art movies. Action hero Cruise leans more to the patriotic side when it comes to movie themes; sensitive Leto likes social themes and psychologically screwed and/or broken characters. They’ve both done biopics and played real people, but Leto strongly favors portraying real-life characters and often goes to great and also eye-rolling lengths to try and transform into them. Cruise, well, he tries his best.

We’ll be talking a lot about Leto’s many, many transformations in his career, but to really understand where things went so wrong with this guy we need to go back to the beginning. Leto’s first real attempt at Method Acting happened when he played American long-distance runner Steve Prefontaine in the film, Prefontaine. Leto immersed himself in his subject, spent a lot of time with Prefontaine’s people, adopted the athlete’s movements and running style — the whole shebang. Prefontaine’s sister said that, when she saw Leto as her brother, she started crying because the actor looked so much like him. 

He received high praise. And so it began.

To say that Jared Leto isn’t good is to forgo all objectivity. The man can translate both character and film language, and he can emote better than most of Hollywood’s big blockbuster dudes. Leto went on to do and be praised for his roles in 1999’s Fight Club and Girl, Interrupted, before really blowing everyone’s socks off with his shocking transformation and portrayal in Requiem for a Dream in the year 2000. The man was downright haunting.

It was also during Leto’s rise to stardom and amidst the constant high praise being thrown at him from all fronts that he started his band, Thirty Seconds to Mars. So, to say that the guy was riding high on the fumes of his own success is, well, right on the money because it’s the best way to describe the puffing cloud of pretentiousness that soon surrounded him and most everything he did from that point on.

 And Cruise? Well, Cruise just wants to fly jets and jump off buildings. Classic Mario.

Leto Bows To The God Of Method Acting While Cruise Wants To Make Movies For People

Leto is an Oscar-winning, wild-eyed method actor who loves to physically transform himself to the point where he’s almost unrecognizable.

Universal Pictures

Aaaaand there's Wario.

He’s eaten himself into obesity and starved himself for parts. No one asks him to do it, but he also doesn’t do it for anyone else, either. He does this because it fascinates him. He couldn’t stop starving himself for Requiem because he wanted to see how far he could go. That’s not some controlled, professional method of acting. That is literally the definition of losing control. Leto lost control and developed body dysmorphia. Read every interview where he talks about The Method and why he does what he does and it becomes clear that the man is all about getting his rocks off. People just made the mistake of praising him for it.

Tom Cruise, on the other hand, just does Tom Cruise. Sure, he underwent one major transformation in Tropic Thunder, but that wasn’t so people would shower him with awards or whatever. That was clearly for some good ol’ entertainment and giving the people what they want: Thicc Tom dancing.

Leto, on the other hand, once gained 67 pounds to play that guy who killed John Lennon in a movie nobody saw.

Peace Arch Entertainment

The actor says he drank pints of ice cream, soy sauce, and olive oil every night to gain all that weight, and eventually struggled to walk because his feet were in so much pain. 

"It was important to make that transformation because I thought his physical representation of himself was an indication of who he was. And it changed everything about who I was - the way I walked, the way I talked, the way I felt about myself, the way people treated me."

He said it was way more difficult than losing all the weight for Requiem for a Dream, where he looked like this:

Summit Entertainment

It’s extreme, and it’s annoyingly Method. For Requiem he tried to assimilate himself into the New York drug scene, saying how he would go out at night and watch people either getting trashed or straight up OD’ing, all in the name of Method and supposedly trying to understand what it's like to want to shoot poison into your veins. But he only really ended up being a tourist, and that experience seems to have warped his idea of How To Act. 

Cruise also has a deep commitment to his craft, but in other ways. The man is famous for learning and performing his own stunts — some of them which are extremely dangerous

He favors doing everything authentic and, whenever he can, himself instead of using any CG in his action films. He’s flying the jet in Top Gun: Maverick. He wore that metal exoskeleton armor in Edge of Tomorrow, an element that would typically be added with CGI. He learned to free dive and hold his breath for up to 6 minutes to perform an underwater stunt in Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation. It makes it so much more fun watching him.

His Mission Impossible co-star Simon Pegg said of him: “I think there’s something very right with him in that he cares so much about the audience experience. It’s like he’s obsessed with giving people an authentic experience.” 

It might be his only criticism here, that he tries to control the creation and outcome of his vision maybe a little too hard sometimes.

Cruise Sounds Like A Swell Co-Worker While Leto Sends His Fellow Cast Members All Kinds Of Horrific Stuff

If you’re ever in a movie with Jared Leto as your co-star, be prepared to receive both unsolicited and bizarre gifts. The cast of Suicide Squad got dead pigs (delivered by the Joker henchman), rats in boxes, and, it’s been said, used condoms and anal beads. Leto defended his gross antics:

“I did a lot of things to create a dynamic, to create an element of surprise, of spontaneity, and to really break down any kind of walls that may be there. The Joker is somebody who doesn’t really respect things like personal space or boundaries.”

Apparently, Jared Leto is also somebody who doesn’t respect any of that. Of course, there’s also a difference between trying out-of-the-box methods in an attempt to bond with your fellow cast members and just straight up scaring them like he did Viola Davis.

“It was a little worrisome. It made you a little bit nervous and I’m pretty tough. You know I got into a few fights when I was growing up…but it scared me a little bit.”

Cruise, on the other hand, sounds delightful as a co-worker when compared to a person giving you live rodents and dead farm animals at work. His fellow cast members usually gush over how awesome he is — in particular, the kids he’s acted with. Jonathan Lipnicki who played the boy in Jerry Maguire, has spoken of Cruise’s generosity. Dakota Fanning (War of the Worlds) says he’s sent her yearly birthday gifts since she was 11. Kirsten Dunst still gets a holiday cake every year.

Tom Cruise taught Zac Efron to ride a motorbike. He took his Mummy co-star Jake Johnson under his wing and helped him get into better, healthier shape. He personally helped his Tropic Thunder co-star Bill Hader get back from L.A. to his wife and newborn baby in New York after an attempted bombing in Times Square.

Cruise Is A Private Guy While Leto Can Be Publicly Obnoxious

One thing these two have in common is their, uh, cult-ish behavior. As everyone knows, Cruise is a Scientologist, which comes with its own whole vibe that we probably don’t have to repeat here. But besides that one time Cruise jumped on … we want to say a couch, somewhere, he’s largely kept to himself when it comes to his personal life, which quite frankly makes him all the more easier to endure. We guess he’s clever like that. 

We cannot say the same about Leto. The frontman of Thirty Seconds to Mars has decided that for his rock ‘n’ roll persona he’s going to be obnoxious, and not in an entertaining, clever, or mildly amusing way. No, more in a “treating fans like crap” and “pretending to be a cult leader to troll people but also no we’re really just a cult now” kind of way. All because some journalist made a comment years ago (2013) that Leto’s band has managed to acquire a cult following. Man, it’s all just so embarrassing.

But in true Leto style he committed to the Cult Leader part, which includes being a real douche to one's fans. 

How very precious — abruptly stopping a song which thousands of your fans were enjoying and singing along to so you can yell at a guy sitting. This guy is so eye-roll. Back in 2010, Leto said how he didn’t see himself as any kind of role model to his younger fans. "I can do whatever the f**k I want. I have no responsibility to uphold an image. I don't subscribe to the notion the artist is a role model by default.”

It is here where we’re just going to point out how there have been many horrible allegations made against Leto regarding his treatment of teenage girls. James Gunn has tried bringing attention to it, too. Twice.  But please, Leto, tell us how much empathy you learned watching hurt people spiking heroin in some back alley.

Anyway, here’s a video of Cruise being cool to everyone at a baseball game.

Zanandi is on Twitter.

Top Image: Summit Entertainment

Get the Cracked Newsletter!

Get the best of Cracked sent directly to your inbox!

Forgot Password?